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Intelligence creates a personality in order to overwrite the personality of the body, because the body is only needed to house the soul. Superfluous. All of it. But even something so superfluous has a meaning. Because after all, your intelligence, your personality, your body, your soul, are they not all a bundle of contradictions? What could be more important than a single uniting thread. Words.

When you are asked the question.

Is there a god?

Do you find yourself wondering if there is a god. Or do you find yourself in awe that those four words mean more to the human existence than thousands of years of progress.

There may not be a god.

But at least we have words.

I for one, am content with this much.
Bio Extract: Tsumugi Rune

Tsumugi Rune, born into a branch of the Miyazaki family on the 19th of May 1995 at 9:38pm. Her mother is Tsumugi Mikoto, previously Miyazaki Mikoto, her father, Tsumugi Daigo. The Tsumugi family serves the Miyazaki family as bodyguards and protectors, hired muscle for the more valuable main family members. Tsumugi Rune, being born in the same year as Miyazaki Rei of the head family was chosen as her bodyguard. Rune has been raised to fight, with her body and with weapons: guns, knives, chemicals and explosives, in order to protect her master. It was not until age thirteen that Rune was deemed suitable for her purpose and took over guardianship of Miyazaki Rei. Rune has been nicknamed "Little Red Riding Hood" by other members of the clan, due to her constant wearing of a bright red hooded jumper, Rune is usually referred to as "Little Red" by everyone else apart from Rei.

~Four years ago~

The alley was dank and seedy and stank of old rubbish, mould, wet rats - the decay of the human spirit, industrialized and broken. But it was out of the way and saved time as a detour. Efficiency trumped aesthetics in the mind of Miyazaki Rei. You only needed to look good when people were watching, but the truth is always unpleasant. And always smelled of rats and mould and decay, an ode to progress - incomplete. Being Yakuza meant learning to live in the shadows, the seedy, swampy space between civilization and crime.

Knowing the alleys in a city like Tokyo was a skill, one that a lifetime could not master. Rei was only thirteen and knew nothing of the streets and alleys, but she liked them. She trod through the alley, childishly stepping around puddles of stagnant water and over trash and rats, alive and dead. Rei knew how the underworld worked and grinded and spat you back out. But she was comfortable, having been raised into the life and that gave her confidence.

A young man turned into the alley, with ripped, faded jeans and a slashed black leather jacket, flung open to show what would have been his chest, if it had not been covered in a bright red dragon's head tattoo. He spotted Rei dodging puddles, long white hair, knee length plaid skirt, blazer, bow-tie and his eyes lit up. Schoolgirl. Virgin. Easy.

"Hey! Sweetheart! What are you doing around here?" He called out.

Rei looked up from her game of dodge the puddles and took a look at the voice that had called out to her. She saw the clothes, the tattoo, the way he walked, cigarettes in his pocket and gun at his waist. Her eyes went blank and she turned her head down and back to her game.

Having been ignored the man gritted his teeth and produced a snarl, that turned to a smile.
"Oi! It isn't safe for you to be out here alone. Let me take you somewhere safe." he invited, a mocking gleam in his eyes.

"Maybe not for you" Rei answered, without stopping her game or looking up.

He swore under his breath, but his smile only widened. This was looking to be more fun than he expected. Breaking them was always the best part about women, especially young ones who were so innocent. He would be her first and he would break her, to the point where he was all she would ever have. The man pulled out a switchblade and flicked it, out, click, and then in, click, click, click, click. Rei stopped her game and looked up.

"Ah, finally got your attention, you little slut."

Rei waved, leaving him puzzled as a blur of red slipped past the corner of his eye. It was a girl. Another one. Same age, but wearing a red hooded jumper and those same faded, ripped jeans. A symbol of the streets. She looked like she belonged here, not like the other. The two girls in front of him appeared to be ignoring him, they faced each other and exchanged whispers, casually, though the one in red seemed worried. If they were going to give him two for the price of one and then put themselves on a silver platter, who was he to refuse? Fate was starting to give back some of what it had taken. It must be fate. Just as the man raised his hand and readied the knife to threaten and subdue the girls there was a voice.

"Stop"

And he stopped. It was not a human sound. The girl with the white hair has spoken the words, but that could not have been her voice. He lowered his hand and let the knife rest at his side obediently, without thinking. Something made him feel uneasy. It was only when Rei switched her gaze and looked into his eyes that he knew why. White eyes, white hair, white devil.

"You should be nicer to others. It might just save your life, one day."

An unexplained impulse of fear shot through the young man as Rei finished speaking, he heard the sound of gunfire ringing in his ears and a sharp, stabbing pain in his chest. But when he slammed a hand down on the pain, expecting to find blood, or a bullet wound, there was nothing but skin and flesh, the red dragon. His shock turned to fear which morphed into anger.

Anger at his own weakness, feeling threatened by a girl who couldn't have been more than fifteen years old. He noted the one with the red hood putting her hand inside her jumper, was it a gun, a knife, a taser, pepper spray or was it just a bluff? Part of him didn't want to find out. But the other part told him to go with experience, that teenage girls couldn't be worse than others he had beaten.

"Run along now, I'm sure you are very busy and don't have any time to waste on someone like me." Rei commanded.

He couldn't help it, what she said was true. The anger made no difference. He still wanted to hit her, to prove that he wasn't scared, that she wasn't a threat to him. But in the back of his mind, his body knew better and Rei's words, so full of condescension weighed his arms down. He did not raise a fist.

The young man sauntered away, hands in the pockets of his jeans, elbows held out at awkward angles, feeling and looking and moving with seething aggression. Rune brought her hand out of her jacket, off her knife and relaxed. Rei slouched and sighed. The man clipped an elderly lady not too far down the street where the girls could not see him. Fruit and vegetables sprawled across the pavement. He started picking them up and putting them back in their bag without thinking. When he was finished he handed them to the old lady who was standing rooted to the spot in fear that she was being robbed, said 'Watch where you're going. You old hag' and kept walking.

"Why did you do that Aneue? Rune asked, mystified.

"Because It was easier than destroying him, and less messy. Also, you are forgetting something important."

She lifted her finger for emphasis and quoted.

" 'Men should be either treated generously or destroyed, because they take revenge for slight injuries - for heavy ones they cannot.' "

"Niccolo Machiavelli." Rune answered, causing Rei to lift an eyebrow.

"Who have you bullied into teaching you?"

"Nobody, your uncle Taro helped me a bit to get set up, but I've learnt everything by myself" Rune said proudly.

"Hmm." Rei slipped a hand under Rune's red hood to rest on top of her head, running her fingers through her hair absentmindedly.

"You should drop the hood for school."

Rei flicked the hood back onto Rune's shoulders herself.

"Why?" Rune gasped, flustered.

"Because it makes you look like Yakuza."

"But I am!"

"Do other children scare you that much that you need to intimidate them?"

"No..."

"Then drop the hood, you look much prettier without it."

Rune didn't say anything, she simply stared at the ground, trying to hide her face, now flushed bright red. Rei smiled and began to head off to class, forcing Rune to move.

"If you really wanted to intimidate them, why not get some tattoos. Or you could just show them your knife or gun."

"But, I don't have a gun." Rune avoided adding in the fact that she didn't have one because she wasn't any good at using it.

"What!?"

Rei un-slung her bag and began to search through it mumbling.

"...Ah."

Rei pulled out a sleek, silver, automatic pistol, cocked it with a click and looked down the barrel and then offered it to Rune.

"Here. You know how to use it I hope?"

Rune didn't take it, she twisted and played with her hair.

"Of course..."

"Then tell your parents to get you one, a good one. Hurry up and take it."

Rei stretched out her arm, shoving the handle underneath Rune's chin."

"But if I take it you won't have a weapon!"

"Huh? This is just a back-up. I'm useless with pistols, can't aim for shit. That's why I have this."

Rei recoiled and lifted the front of her skirt revealing her thighs and choice of underwear. A polished black machine pistol, appearing unused was holstered outside of her right thigh with strips of ammunition circumventing her left, each held in place with a soft, black, elastic garter.
Rune stared until she dropped her skirt again and remained silent for a short while after.

"Is that also why you only wear long dresses and skirts?"

"Hm? I suppose so."

"I think they suit you, you look beautiful Aneue."

Rei's eyes widened at the compliment but she refused to let herself stumble over it.

"Yes. Now hurry up and take the gun!"

Rei thrust the pistol onto Rune's chest, making her take responsibility for holding it.

"Yes Aneue. Thankyou Aneue."

They turned to keep walking to school.

"And stop calling me Aneue"

"As you wish Aneue"

"Rei! My name is Rei, Rune! Use it!"

Rei hit Rune on the head playfully and both girls smiled.
Little Red
Rune's supernatural power is called Red Alert, it increases in power in proportion with the level of danger faced, also giving her a sixth sense for noticing dangerous things and situations.
Rei's power is Power Word: .... which gives her the ability to impart words with power, and most noticeably being able to create kanji that can be activated to release a power based on it's reading. Power word: Stun will use a kanji to stun et.c
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By the time the explanation was over Nova had been asleep for half an hour and Shinobu had drawn half a dozen rough sketches, but the old man still looked as lively as when they had started. The heat was a different matter. He was starting to sweat, but that was irrelevant. Shinobu was starting to steam. Wisps of clear water vapour rose from her body, covered in a reflective film of sweat.

"I think that's enough for now," he said "Why don't you girls take a bath while I make some preparations. There is a natural hot spring behind that door, dug it out of the rocks myself."

Hot spring?

Shinobu went to wake up Nova and ask what a hot spring was.

"No! He'll peek in on us while we're naked. It's a trap." Nova whispered, eyeing the old man like he was part of a government conspiracy.

The tinkerer had long since forgotten them and was toiling away at his desk once more.

"I don't think he's interested." Shinobu said.

"That's how they trick you. As soon as we leave he'll be spying on us."

"Interesting theory. We need to test this."

Shinobu took her top off, revealing that she did not wear a bra. Not that it looked like she needed one. Nova was miming furiously to put her clothes back on before he noticed, trying to avoid alerting him with noise. Shinobu and the tinkerer both seemed unfazed.

"Could we borrow some towels?" Shinobu asked.

"Oh yes, towels. They should be inside. If not, this cupboard here." he said without looking up, not even to point at the cupboard.

Nova resisted the urge to scream and followed Shinobu through the door and into the small earthen pocket of hot springs. There was one large pool and rough flattened plateau with a single wooden stool and an small bowl.

"Looks like we'll have to take tu-" Nova froze mid sentence. Shinbou stood facing her, expectantly and completely naked, her clothes in a pile next to the door. She looked unearthly with her pale taught limbs, she looked fragile, as if she was made of china and there was not a hair on her body, making her look pubescent. It was the first time Nova had seen a human look so unhuman and it had nothing to do with her metal arm. Her own body was childish, even in comparison.

"Take what, Bunny?"

"T-take t-t-turns." she stuttered, "D-don't you want a towel or something?"

"Towels are for drying. Why are you still wearing clothes? You can't get your clothes wet."

Shinbou responded, moving over to Nova and forcibly stripping her despite the struggles and complaints and occasional squeaks. When Nova groped for a towel to cover herself with Shinobu flicked her forehead making her bounce backwards.

"Towels are for drying."

"Easy for you to say. You don't know what shame is."

"Shame is a hindrance. There are things to be ashamed of, but your body is not one of them."

Shinobu said, repeating what she had been told when starting her experiments. Nova just whimpered in her corner, curled into a ball. Shinobu left her and went to sit down on the stool, filling the bowl with water and tipping it over her head, resulting in a cloud of steam.

"Can you wash my back?"
After a few moments of silent contemplation Nova got up, focusing on not covering her shame with her hands and went over to Shinobu's back.

"Can I wash your hair?"

"Ok."

There was a lull in conversation as Nova scrubbed Shinobu's back first and had a bowl of water dumped on her head. When she started to wash her hair she noticed Shinobu's ear for the first time. It wasn't just pointed, it was scarred. Instead of asking what happened she tried to nonchalantly touch it while massaging the girl's scalp. When she did Shinobu spoke up.

"It's strange isn't it."

"What is?"

"My ear."

"Not it isn't...."

There was a pause in the washing. Nova fighting inside herself about what to say and do.

"Yes it is. What happened?"

"My arm exploded."

"Your arm?"

"Yes. It exploded. And then my ear melted."

It certainly didn't sound normal. But the way her ear looked, it was probably true. After all, the fact she had eaten a devil fruit was painfully obvious.

"My turn." Shinobu said, and the girls switched places.

When they both felt clean they tested the hot spring, found it to be bearable and slipped in to relax. Shinobu spread her arms out behind her and let her chest float on the surface while Nova covered herself with her knees.

"Hey, Shinobu."

"Hmm?"

"Do you think we're freaks?"

"Sure, I guess."

"Aren't you supposed to say no? That I'm just as good as everyone else?"

"No. Because we're not the same as anyone else."

Nova sulked and submerged her mouth to blow bubbles.

"Then what am I going to be for the rest of my life, a freak, an outcast?"

"Happy. You're going to be happy."

"How do you know?"

"Because I don't know. That's what makes it certain."

"Then what about you?"

"What about me?"

"What are you going to be for the rest of your life?" Nova pried.

Shinobu pondered the question for a while before responding.

"Alive," she said, "I'm going to be alive."

Nova smiled meekly.

"I like the sound of that."

The two girls sat in the hot spring together for too long, neither suggesting they get out. The tinkerer was the one to interrupt them in the end. He burst in through the door exclaiming.

"It's ready! I can finally test my theo-"

Shinobu stood up in the hot spring and was clapping at the news. This caused the old man's blood pressure to sky rocket and overload a capillary in his nose which burst in a spray of scarlet over his clothes.

"Pervert!" Nova screeched as she cursed Shinobu's 'towels are for drying' policy.

When everyone was rested and clean and dressed they gathered again in the hot springs. The tinkerer brought out his inventions and connected them with wires and cables and proclaimed them to be ready. Shinobu took charge and heated up the capsule and started the chain reaction, the other machines started spinning and an electrical charge built up at the end.

There wasn't any lightning, but the air grew heavy and crackled, the static field dampening the surroundings. Shinobu felt her metal arm tingle, which was strange. It wasn't connected to any nerves, she shouldn't have been able to feel anything. She moved her hands together but before they could touch there was a shock of electricity spark in between, making her pull back her human hand and wince.

"It works!" the tinkerer cried, tears streaming down his face.

"That was hardly lighting." Nova noted.

"Touch my arm Nova."

"No."

"But if it isn't lightning, it can't hurt you. Touch my arm."

Shinobu moved over to place a hand on her shoulder, but Nova bounced away.

"I am not touching that, I saw you flinch."

"Surprise."

"No means no."

"No. Surprise!"

Shinbou lunged forward to clasp her hand onto Nova, who screamed.

"Alright, you've had your fun girls. Now can you help me pack everything up, we need to get a real lava sample now."

Quietly sidling towards Nova, Shinobu questioned him.

"How do we get lava?"

"Please don't say you want to go into the volcano..." Nova moaned, keeping a safe distance from the metal arm of lightning.

"Not into it, well, kind of. I have a secret way in."

The girls followed him to the back of the hot springs where he revealed a cavernous hole in the rock, it lead to a natural cave, he said. They had to trust him on that, or distrust him, because there wasn't any light past the entrance.

"I wonder if there is any treasure inside ..." Nova mumbled to herself.

Shinbou stepped inside the darkness and heated her body to glow a dull orange, illuminating almost a meter around her.

"I like it." she said with a smile.
Mandatory Hot Spring Scene
Just a little snippet i found from a while ago, i mainly focus on dialogue and character interaction so i found the exchange between Nova and Shinobu to be quite interesting looking back on things.
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Scarlettletters Featured By Owner May 28, 2013  Professional Writer
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Well, that is certainly an enthusiastic greeting.
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I try ^^

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Of course, just a little overwhelming for someone simple like me.
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thank you for favouriting my work :)
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Thanks for the fav on "Ravage", your attention is much appreciated :)
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